TRADE unionists issued a rallying call yesterday, urging workers to go on the offensive rather then begging governments for their rights.
At an STUC fringe organised by the Morning Star, Institute of Employment Rights (IER) and People’s Assembly Scotland, Ruth Dukes said the IER was seeking to “refocus the debates around labour law, and put collective bargaining at the heart of the discussion.”
Unite senior regional organiser Roz Foyer said that the vast majority of IER’s manifesto could be delivered under a Corbyn government but added that “trade unions organising is crucial to winning on this agenda.”
She said it wasn’t enough to simply legislate on employment law, it was also vital to have “strong trade unions out in the field, and it has to involve workers themselves active in the workplace.”
Morning Star editor Ben Chacko said trade unions must “be bolder in fighting to win,” warning that a “current of defeatism” set in during the EU referendum campaign, with left-wing Remainers claiming we needed to rely on EU legislation for our rights.
Mr Chacko warned that “relying on the benevolence of capitalist governments doesn’t guarantee workers’ rights, because you’re relying on a different class which has interests often antagonistic to working-class interests.”
He said the upcoming election was “critical” because we have a Labour Party “willing to shift power to working people rather than merely legislate on their behalf.”
Unison executive member Jane Carolyn said that the thrust of trade union law over the last 30 years has been to “restrict our ability to effectively challenge corporate power.”
She said the IER manifesto was a “rallying call” and called on the trade union movement to “become offensive in every sense of the word.”